By Rod Case (Bendigo Advertiser)
They came for the songs, the looks and, oh right, apparently a good deal of ‘em for those trademark tight jeans.
No one left disappointed.
Bon Jovi blasted into Melbourne on Saturday night for the opening show of his Australian tour with a clear intention – stand and deliver.
Deliver he did – a cracking show stretching well beyond the two hour mark laced with classics, new stuff, plenty of fun and all the ‘showman’ that has taken him to the top of the world through 30 years.
This 51-year-old danced, sung and wiggled that trademark of his across a mighty stage designed as the front of a 1959 Buick complete with headlights.
Bon Jovi arrived to entertain and had just one request in return – crowd participation.
Those calls where answered in kind – a sea of waving arms, dancing and, yep, plenty of sing-a-long.
And when Bon Jovi thought that crowd participation was waning, he told them so.
At one stage banging the microphone he asked: ‘’Is this thing still on… are you still with me out there?’’
Of course, they were.
Where cigarette lighters once ruled, the mobile phone now holds court and when Bon Jovi told everyone to get them out and ‘light up this dome’ the interior of Etihad was transformed into a scene to rival the best of starry, starry nights.
The Bon Jovi magic was always on show – You Give Love A Bad Name, Raise Your Hands, It’s My Life, Because We Can, Keep The Faith, We Weren’t Born To Follow.
But the concert highlights were voted for by the crowd on this night and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, Bad Medicine and a rousing five-song encore featuring In These Arms, Runaway, Wanted Dead or Alive, Have a Nice Day and Livin’ On A Prayer were the ‘fever pitch’ moments.
I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead was Bon Jovi and his band at their best – the song littered with segues into the Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Jerry Lee Lewis’ Great Balls Of Fire and a touch of festive cheer with Chuck Berry’s Run Run Rudolph.
Bad Medicine took on a life of its own as well with a good dose of Johnny O’Keefe’s Shout.
But every concert has a moment… right?
The bit you will never forget.
Cue… Livin’ On A Prayer.
Bon Jovi delivered the opening to the song in acoustic style – pretty soon he was doing the guitar work and the crowd the singing.
His approving smile served both as recognition for the crowd’s efforts and fuel for the hordes to just keep on singing.
Bon Jovi took over to belt out Livin’ On A Prayer in true traditional style with his chorus of 50,000 odd back up singers, of course.
Bon Jovi thanked the crowd for coming out to see the band that night, for 30 years of support and wished all a safe trip home.
Then he was gone. Job done.
Although given the sea of mobile phones snapping and recording with ferocity all night – fair bet that concert is going to live on for some time to come.
Take a bow Bon Jovi… you delivered.